Steps to developing a marketing plan.
Steps to developing a marketing plan
The Marketing Plan Is Key To Increasing Sales.
Running a successful business is not like a field of dreams; you can build it but they might not come. Marketing is all about letting people know about the product or service you offer, and persuading them to buy or use it. And for effective marketing you have to let people know about your product or service repeatedly.
To do this, you're going to have to come up with both a marketing strategy and a marketing plan.
A- The marketing strategy is shaped by your overall business goals. It includes a definition of your business, a description of your products or services, a profile of your target users or clients, and defines your company's role in relationship to the competition. The marketing strategy is essentially a document that you use to judge the appropriateness and effectiveness of your specific marketing plans.
To put it another way, your marketing strategy is a summary of your company's products and position in relation to the competition; your sales and marketing plans are the specific actions you're going to undertake to achieve the goals of your marketing strategy.
B- The marketing plan then, can be thought of as the practical application of your marketing strategy. If you look at my article, Writing The Marketing Plan you'll see that the marketing plan includes details about your business' unique selling proposition, pricing strategy, the sales and distribution plan and your plans for advertising and promotions.
So in effect, you can't have a marketing plan without a marketing strategy. The marketing strategy provides the goals for your marketing plans. It tells you where you want to go from here. The marketing plan is the specific road map that's going to get you there.
C- Considerations in the Planning Process – Marketing strategy
A strategic marketing plan revolves around the kind of environment the entity desires to establish for the client in the quest to make sales. This plan involves concepts such as geographical and demographic target markets as well as market segmentation.
The Plan should contain the following five components:
- Company Positioning - It should outline the current position of the firm regarding financial results. Such an analysis allows the planning team to identify the strategies that were previously put in place and assess the success of the overall plan against the financial results. In the end, a SWOT analysis reveals the current situation of the company.
- Goals and Strategies - The strategic marketing plan is never complete without listing the organizational goals and strategies to be implemented. The goals inform the rationalization of resources in production, distribution and marketing while the strategies discuss the conversion of targets into realities. For instance, a goal may state the intention to improve the brand recognition and image while the corresponding plan defines the most appropriate media or promotion method to achieve desired results.
- Market Opportunities - The plan should always assess emerging or existing market opportunities that may be harnessed in the short and long term. By so doing, the planners can easily dedicate resources to the most promising opportunity.
- Target Market Defined - It is important to define the target groups for all your products and services. This step allows you to conduct more research on their needs, demands, and even preferences to capitalize on sales. Also, define the demographic and geographic stratification of these groups.
- Marketing Budget - Last and most importantly, a strategic marketing plan is considered complete due to the inclusion of a realistic marketing budget and the dedication of an implementation period. Tough decisions have to be made at this point. These include the division of duties and responsibilities.
D- Benefits Of Strategic Marketing Planning
This process facilitates a common understanding among all stakeholders in an organization. The plan informs management decisions, the behavior of the employees towards the institutional goals and also the response among current and potential clients. The plan is also subjected to changes over a period to meet changing demands.
A sound marketing plan allows a corporate entity to grow its market share which results in more revenue and profits. A the firm expands, its able to enjoy the large economies of scale and thus less operational costs. Overall, the strategic marketing planning process connects the production engine to the consumption transmission.
E- Marketing Plan:
Objective: To gain broader market adoption. Marketing Strategy: Introduce into new market segments. Marketing Plan: Develop marketing campaign that reaches out, identifies with and focuses on that specific segment.
A successful formula that can be used to further explain the importance of marketing strategy and marketing planning looks like this:
Marketing Strategy ---> Marketing Plan ---> Implementation = Success
- Your marketing strategy consists of:
The "what" has to be done.
Inform consumers about the product or service being offered.
Inform consumers of differentiation factors.
- Your marketing plan consists of:
The "how" to do it.
Construct marketing campaigns and promotions that will achieve the "what" in your strategy.
- Your implementation consists of:
Taking action to achieve items identified in marketing strategy and marketing plan.
F- Components Of Your Marketing Strategy
- External Marketing Message
- Internal Positioning Goal
- Short Term Goals and Objectives
- Long Term Goals and Objectives
G- Components Of Your Marketing Plan
- Executive Summary - High level summary of your marketing plan.
- Your Challenge - Brief description of products / services to be marketed and a recap of goals identified in your marketing strategy.
- Situation Analysis - This section should identify the following:
- Market Share
Analysis Of Your Customer - How many customers would you like to obtain? What type of customers are they? What are the values that drive them? What does their decision process look like? What customers will you focus on for the products or services that you offer?
Analysis Of Your Competitors - What's your marketing position? What's their market position? What are your strengths when it comes to your competitors? What are your weaknesses? What market share are you going after? What market share has your competitor already tapped?
Identification of your 4 P's (Product / Price/ Promotion / Place)
Summary - Summary of all of the above and how you will use this information to achieve the goals you have identified in your marketing strategy. Be specific - the more specific actions you have the easier it will be to follow through on the last step, which is implementation.
As you can see your marketing strategy goes hand-in-hand in with your marketing plan. Without both, you will find that you not only waste resources but also that you could end up stuck without an idea of where to go.
Don't forget to measure any marketing campaigns that you launch so you can see what works and what doesn't. You can use this information to guide you in the future.
H- Developing a Marketing Plan
Follow these steps:
1) The first step is to create specific marketing objectives and write them down. What do you want your promotion efforts to do for you?
If you're selling herbs, for instance, perhaps you want to increase your monthly sales by 25 percent. If you're a realtor, a good marketing objective might be to get 10 new listings each month. My own marketing objective is to gain a new client each month. Whatever marketing objective you set, be sure it's realistic; you need to be able to achieve the marketing objective if it's going to motivate you or serve as a good benchmark to evaluate your success.
2) Now the hard part. Under each marketing objective, write as many specific things as you can that you are going to do to achieve the objective.
If I want to increase my monthly sales by 25 percent, one thing I might do is place some ads. But when I'm working on my marketing objective list, I need to take the time to think it through so I'll be able to follow through effectively.
Just "placing some ads" isn't specific enough to serve as a marketing objective. I have to consider what type of ads and where I might place them to increase my monthly sales. For instance, I might write, "place an ad describing specials in the local newspaper" as a marketing objective, or "put ad on local TV station".
Then I have specific actions to follow that will help me achieve my marketing objective rather than just a vague idea. If you're having trouble with coming up with these specific activities, or seeing how each marketing objective fits in with your marketing plan, reading The Advertising and Promotion Plan will help you fit all the pieces together.
3) Go over the list of specific activities you've brainstormed and check them against your marketing plan. Choose the ones that fit best with your marketing objectives and do the best job of targeting your potential clients or customers.
4) Then, using your calendar, decide which promotional activities you're going to do when. You can break your marketing plan down by month or by quarter, but be sure you include not only a description of the activity or event, but also a reference to which marketing objective the promotion activity or event is related to, and a cost estimate.
I-Regularly Update Your Plan
Once you set up your marketing plan, remember that it needs to be an organic, living document, not something you put into a nice folder and file somewhere and never look at again. Take fifteen minutes every day to review your goals and specific activities; what did you do that particular day to help you achieve the marketing objectives you've set?
What do you need to do tomorrow? Too often we make plans or list objectives and then get so enmeshed in all the things we have to do to run our businesses that we shunt them aside. Taking fifteen minutes a day to review your marketing objectives, marketing plan, and marketing activities goes a long way towards helping you stay focused and on track and market your products or services effectively.
J-Understanding Sales Forecasting
Sales Forecasting is the process of estimating what your business’s sales are going to be in the future. A sales forecast period can be monthly, quarterly, half-annually, or annually.
Sale forecasting is an integral part of business management. Without a solid idea of what your future sales are going to be, you can’t manage your inventory or your cash flow or plan for growth. The purpose of sales forecasting is to provide information that you can use to make intelligent business decisions.
K- How To Make a Sales Forecast
A sales forecast is an estimate of the quantity of goods and services you can realistically sell over the forecast period, the cost of the goods and services, and the estimated profit.
Typically this is done by making a list of the goods and services to be sold, an estimate of the number of each to be sold, the unit price of each, and a total (price * #units) and a grand total. Another list is made for the estimated cost of each good or service and a total cost (cost * #units). Subtracting total cost from the total sales gives an estimated profit for the forecast period.
If your business has a huge number of items in inventory it may be necessary to condense unit sales/costs into categories.
L- Sales Forecasting For Existing Businesses
Sales forecasting for an established business is easier than sales forecasting for a new business; the established business already has a sales forecast baseline of past sales.
A business’s sales revenues from the same month in a previous year, combined with knowledge of general economic and industry trends, work well for predicting a business’s sales in a particular future month.
If your business has repeat customers, you can check with them to see if their purchase levels are likely to continue in future.
If you don't wish to contact them directly you can infer future activity based on the health of the customer industry.
M- Forecasting For New Businesses
Sales forecasting for a new business is more problematical as there is no baseline of past sales. The process of preparing a sales forecast for a new business involves researching your target market, your trading area and your competition and analyzing your research to guesstimate your future sales. See Three Methods of Sales Forecasting and Sales Forecasting for Your Business Plan for further explanation.
Sales forecasting is the process of estimating what your business’s sales are going to be in the future. Is this statement correct. Select the right answer. A- True. B- False.
- A- True.
- B- False.
What is the components of your marketing strategy?. Select the right answer. A- External Marketing Message. B- Internal Positioning Goal. C- Short Term Goals and Objectives. D- All is correct.
- A- External Marketing Message
- B- Internal Positioning Goal
- C- Short terms goals and objectives
- D- All is correct
4 P' s is the - (Product / Price / Place / Promotion). Is this statement correct or wrong ?. Select the right answer. A- Correct. B- False. C- Both.
- A- Correct
- B- False
- C- Both
Strategic Marketing Plan. Question- Strategic marketing plan has how many component ?. Tick mark on the correct answer. Correct answer is the- A. 3 Component. B. 8 Component. C. 5 Component. D. 7 Component.
- A. 3 component
- B. 8 component
- C. 5 component
- D. 7 component
The Marketing Plan. Question- The marketing plan is the key to increasing sales. Is this statement true or false?. Tick mark on the correct answer.Correct answer is the- A- True. B- False.
- A- True
- B- False